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ECN publication
Cost Modelling of Floating Wind Farms
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Wind Energy 12-1-2016
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-E--15-078 ECN publication
Number of pages: Full text:
33 Download PDF  

The depth limitations for bottom-fixed turbines exclude the possibility to utilize the vast quantities of offshore wind resources. Hence, interest has been drawn recently in different foundation concepts such as floating platforms which are suitable for deeper waters. Currently, only a few floating wind turbines are operational and hence, accurate conclusions cannot be drawn regarding the economic viability of these concepts before their commercial deployment. However, computer models can provide useful insights regarding the most important cost parameters of offshore wind farms and allow the assessment of different concepts. The objective of this work is to compare the LCOE of a fixed-bottom foundation (monopile) wind farm and a respective floating (semi-submersible) one, installed in the same location with same number and type of wind turbines. In order to meet this objective, two ECN’s in-house developed tools were updated. First “ECN Install”, an offshore wind installation simulation tool, was upgraded in its second version which now allows cost calculations besides calculations in the time-domain and additionally gives the possibility for parallel installation sequences. Secondly, “OWECOP” cost model was updated to include the cost calculations for the semi-submersible floating concept. The results of the installation models created from ECN Install v2.0 indicate the significant cost advantages of the semi-submersible and tension-leg platform concepts due to the possibility for onshore assembly. Particularly, semi-submersible wind turbines can save 50% in installation costs compared to monopile foundations. Combining the results of ECN Install with these of OWECOP, the LCOE of the fixed bottom wind farm is calculated at 138 €/MWh, lower compared to the semi-submersible concept which was calculated to be 159 €/MWh. The overall higher costs for the floating concepts are mainly due to the large floater which requires a large mass of steel. Overall, the fact that the cost of the floating wind farm is higher compared to fixed-bottom foundations for the case study developed during this work is not dissuasive for exploring and optimizing further floating wind. The clearly visible benefits of floating wind installation and O&M should not be overlooked.

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